Last September, I spent two weeks at the Pine Needles Residency in Marine on St. Croix. Every day, I walked in the woods and listened to the trees. In those woods, language dissolved and I melted into the environment. I listened deeply and was called to a site along the trail where seven pieces of fallen birch bark lay on the forest floor. I respectfully gathered the decaying tree skins and carried them back to my art studio to continue our conversation.
The seven abstract artworks exhibited for “Betula” are directly inspired by the spirits of those fallen trees. Sitting with them, I reflected on my past experiences in the woods. As a child, the dark trees and the sounds of unseen life within the woods filled me with fear. During those years, I was taught to obey the patriarchal systems that restricted my spirit and skewed my perception of the wild. As time has passed from childhood to adulthood, my consciousness has altered and I am no longer a stranger in the woods. Today, I practice looking directly into the shadows as an act of re-wilding my spirit.